Penalties and fines for a first DUI charge are often less than those for a subsequent conviction, but states establish and maintain their own regulations that govern the minimum and maximum financial and correctional penalties for a DUI charge, and some state penalties may be harsher than others.
Vermont is seen as one of the strictest of the 50 states in terms of DUI penalties. A first DUI conviction will carry an automatic license suspension of 90 days, fines of up to $750 and a DUI surcharge minimum of $160, as well as the possibility of up to two years in prison.
Though prison time is a rarity in first offense cases, there is a possibility that you will be given jail time, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. In some instances, jail sentences can be suspended in favor of community service or probation.
Like many states, Vermont is dedicated to reform when it comes to DUI convictions. Following your first DUI, you will have to attend a number of alcohol and therapy group sessions, and must receive a completed treatment assessment in order to get your license back after the suspension period has ended.
The terms of your probation following your first DUI arrest may require that you take additional alcohol awareness courses, attend regular alcohol abuse meetings or be subjected to drug and alcohol screenings. Probation is another way that a judge may suspend a sentence. Community service may also be substituted in lieu of jail time for a first-offense DUI.
Known as one of the state's with the strictest DUI laws, there is no look-back expiration period in Vermont. This means that no matter how much time passes between your first and second offense DUI, the second will come with stiffer fines and the increased likelihood of a jail sentence. In some states, a look-back period (typically 10 years) means that if you are arrested and convicted of a DUI, once the look-back period is eclipsed, you will not be charged with a 2nd offense. This is not teh case in Vermont, so you'll want to do everything in your power top make sure that your first DUI arrest is also your last.
Contacting an attorney
If you are arrested for DUI in Vermont, it's a good idea to consult an experienced DUI attorney to go over your options. Laws on DUI in Vermont are strict, and an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal ramifications.
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Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I am twenty years of age. I was arrested for a California DUI. I am wondering what will happen to me now and what steps I need to take. Do I need to talk to a DUI lawyer?”